NASCAR Driver Jason Leffler Dies After Crash in Dirt Race
NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died late Wednesday after an accident in a dirt car race at New Jersey's Bridgeport Speedway. Leffler, who was extricated from his vehicle after the crash, was taken by medevac helicopter to a local trauma center. He was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m., according to New Jersey State Police.
The 37-year-old driver competed in 423 races in NASCAR's top three series since 1999. Leffler won two Nationwide Series races and one Camping World Truck Series race during his career.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, NASCAR reflected on Leffler's life and career saying, “NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening. For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed.”
The Long Beach, Cali. native has not competed for a NASCAR team on a full-time basis since 2011. In fact, the driver made his only start of the year in last Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.. He finished in 43rd after his car experienced transmission problems early in the race. He is best remembered for several top ten point finishes in the Nationwide (Busch) Series driving the #38 Great Clips car, which he shared the seat with Kasey Kahne last year.
He was also the inaugural driver of the FedEx #11 Sprint Cup car with Joe Gibbs Racing for one season before Denny Hamlin took over the ride.
Leffler is survived by his 5-year-old son, Charlie Dean.
NASCAR drivers are expressing their sympathies on Twitter. Brad Keslowski, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, tweeted, "Really sad for Jason Leffler and his family. Thinking about his little boy."